The end of the South-East news opens this tape. Some obligatory Red Nose Day fun, with ‘impromptu’ line dancing by staff at Heathrow. There’s a trail for Hamish Macbeth, then, Comic Relief 1997 kicks off. The theme is Close Encounters of the Furred Kind. Let’s hope that’s not the best joke on show tonight.
It opens with a large gaggle of presenters, including Dame Edna Everage, Pauline Calf, and Father Ted and Dougal.
Lenny Henry hosts the first hour, and he promises that if they raise £10,000 he’ll go and snog Anna Ford. Nice to see the spirit of the 70s is still alive and well at TV Centre.
Talking of TV Centre, Lenny takes a camera out of the studio and around the corridors looking for Anna Ford’s dressing room, which is lovely for all of us who miss TVC.
Naturally, when he gets to Anna Ford’s dressing room, it’s actually Peter Sissons.
There’s a Gladiators sketch. If that’s your kind of thing. It features (if I’m not mistaken) a young(er) Paterson Joseph.
There’s a special edition of Only Fools and Horses.
The second hour is hosted by Dame Edna Everage.
I’m not quite sure why she’s dressed in UKIP colours.
Coronation Street field a team for University Challenge.
There’s a Vicar of Dibley/Ballykissangel crossover.
Dame Edna’s matron of honour Madge Allsopp sings…
After this section, we get the whole of the Nine O’Clock News, which leads with turmoil in Albania. Also, a young Rory Cellan Jones, then the BBC’s Business Correspondent reports on the failures of a privatised railway.
Before the resumption of Red Nose Day, there’s a trailer for Hamish Macbeth, and for the rather unsavoury looking Have Your Cake and Eat It. “You’re the only other woman I’ve been to bed with in twenty years of marriage to Charlotte.” Yuck.
Comic Relief returns, with an hour hosted by French and Saunders, as last minute replacements for Anthea Turner, who comes in for some ribbing.
Throughout the night there’s the usual sketches featuring famous people. Anne Robinson plays Mrs Robinson in the Graduate.
Jeremy Clarkson learns some harsh truths.
Tim McInerney appears in a Question Time skit, with Jeffrey Archer.
Boyzone do a very boring version of Love Me Tender. Kylie Minogue appears in a special edition of Men Behaving Badly.
After the last Red Nose Day, when Dawn got to kiss Hugh Grant, this time she’s promised a kiss from Tom Cruise. However, that’s not who turns up at the end of the hour.
It’s Anthea Turner, there to respond to all the jokes at her expense.
Wayne and Waynetta Slob help out.
Helen Mirren and Robbie Coltrane do a Cracker/Prime Suspect crossover.
The tape comes to an end during a performance from Björk and Steve Coogan’s Portugese crooner Tony Ferrino.
BBC Genome: Part One – BBC One London, 14 March 1997 19.00
BBC News: BBC One London, 14 March 1997 21.00
The Genome page appears to have joined up the information for the news, and the second half of Comic Relief.